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Family moves to 2 safe houses
A prison officer and his family have been placed in protective custody after their Belmont home was targeted in a shooting between Saturday night and yesterday morning.
According to reports, around 8.22 pm on Saturday night, prisons officer Nigel Daniel and his family were at their apartment at Jerningham Avenue, Belmont, when they heard a volley of gunshots.
Daniel, who is attached to the Office of the Superintendent of the Prison Service, escaped unscathed. However his daughter, who is reportedly under five years, was not as lucky as she was grazed by a bullet.
Police arrived on the scene within minutes but the gunmen had already fled.
Daniel’s daughter was taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital for treatment and the family was then moved to an undisclosed and secured location, where they remained up to yesterday.
Police had not arrested any suspects for the shooting up to late yesterday.
In a press release issued yesterday, the Prison Service said Daniel did not report any threats to him before the incident. The release also alleged Daniel and his family had to be relocated to a second secured location after the first was compromised by social media posts by Daniel’s colleagues yesterday morning.
“This has become necessary as officers’ propaganda and insinuations via chats have worsened the situation, as we are well aware that prisoners, gangs and other criminal elements monitor chat groups as well,” the release said as it called upon officers to be careful when making social media posts.
“The prisons administration therefore urges officers to be vigilant and rather than inciting, let us work together to prevent these heinous attacks on our colleagues.”
The shooting comes on the heals of a series of violent attacks against prison officers over the past two months.
The most recent attack was the murder of prisons officer Glenford Gardner, 44, of Bagatelle, Diego Martin, outside an apartment he was renting out on October 26. His murder came weeks after Richard Sandy, a father of five, was shot dead by an ex-convict while liming at a bar in Gasparillo on October 8. Sandy and Gardner were the 16th and 17th prison officers to be murdered in the past 15 years.
The Prisons Officers’ Association has renewed their call for the Government to consider security arrangements for law enforcement officers following the two murders.
Contacted yesterday, association president Ceron Richards said they had already met with the Ministry of National Security and will be meeting with Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi again tomorrow to discuss proposals put forward on the issue.
“We hope that the recommendation that we put forward, in terms of implementing a Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act and other pieces of legislation to assist with the safety and security of prison officers and by extension law enforcement officials in T&T, we hope the AG has something positive to say with regard to moving forward with the drafting of those legislation,” Richards said.
Asked to comment on Daniel’s incident, Richards said it was being close monitored by the association. However, he said he could not provide any details of measures implemented for Daniel and his family as it would compromise their safety.
“I have no information on why the incident took place, except that he is another prison officer who has been attacked within the last few weeks,” Richards said.